Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Single Payer Health Care

Sarah and I went to a vigil in support of a Public Option for health care in the United States. As the Mayor of Sebastopol, Sarah welcomed the crowd, which favored the Public Option.

This is not a political blog. But I must speak out in favor of a Public OPTION.

Now, if you disagree with the idea of a public option, okay. You can opt for private medical insurance.

"But I'll have to pay for the public option through higher taxes," you might object.

Yeah, I know.

But I never supported waging wars against Vietname, Iraq, or Afghanistan and I'm paying for those wars. Sometimes, when you're a member of a society you must pay for things you disagree with.

So look here:

Every country rations health care. America rations health care this very minute.


We ration health care according to wealth. Not according to need.

According to wealth.

If you are rich enough, there is no ceiling on your health care. If you decide to employ a doctor to make your nose pretty and you can pay for it, you can employ a doctor to serve you. Never mind that in any other democracy that same doctor might have done something more urgent, perhaps treated someone—a child?—with terminal but curable cancer.

Here in America, that rich person's pretty nose job gets to cut in line for medical services.

Not only that. Our current system must account for more than medical need: It must also make big profits so it can pay top management their enormous salaries. And that's not all: Insurance companies must make profits so that shareholders can make money on their investments. How can insurance companies be that profitable? Come on, you know the answer: only by charging more in premiums than they pay out for services.

Insurance companies can only make profits when they collect money for medical services they'll never provide.

These built-in inefficiencies make Americans pay more money for less health care than any other developed country on the planet.

Our United States health care system is unique in these ways.

Other developed countries have made the moral choice to provide health care as a basic human right. Article 25 of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights states:

Article 25.

  • (1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.
  • (2) Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.
(Emphasis added)

I pray that the United States takes upon itself as a moral duty the obligation to provide health care and education to all its residents. I know it would cost money. Perhaps we can find a way to save money by building fewer space-based weapons, fighter jets, and warships. If we can't, then, yes, my taxes will go up. I could live with that. But a nation that spends more on its military THAN ALL OTHER COUNTRIES IN THE WORLD COMBINED could probably afford to trim its military fat enough to do single-payer without raising taxes.

[Has anyone wondered, as I have, how it is that our military, the one that fights to "protect" us from socialism, operates it own socialist medical system? I mean, soldiers don't get medical treatment according to their ability to pay for services, do they?]

The moon over California September 2. Sleep tight!


Dan Gurney said...

Oh, I forgot to mention: our medical insurance premiums also get spent to lobby our legislators against the public interest. Insurance company lobbyists look out for interests of the insurance companies.

Bonnie, Original Art Studio said...


You make several really important points here. So well stated.

Where are all the comments on such cogent post? This is outrageous that no one is interacting with you on this!!

Someone speaks with some sanity and it is like they are crying out in the wilderness.

Sarah Lulu said...

Even though our health care system is far from perfect ....I just cannot imagine life without it ...Those horror stories I see where you can't afford whatever it is you need are SO dreadful.

I hope you get a public health care system.

EVERYONE deserves to be looked after.

My daughter had a baby recently and it made no difference if she was in private health care or not ...she would have been treated the same ...
wonderful hospital ..great care and it cost her NOTHING.

steven said...

dan, i pray that the people of your country receive the care they need regardless of whether it is mental, physical, emotional or spiritual. steven

Margaret Pangert said...

Hi Dan! It's so great that you took a picture of the moon! I did too just a couple of days ago when it wasn't exactly full but looked close enough.

I have to say that I feel sorry for the State of California. It pays so many public costs that it has pretty much gone bankrupt. I felt the federal government should have sent in firefighters instead of making California come up with more public money (like when Katrina hit New Orleans, flooding and tornadoes in other states, etc.).

My husband and I own a small business and provide quality healthcare to the employees. How will their care be under the proposed plan? and how will it be financed? as u said, more taxes for you and for the small business enterprises. Why couldn't big-time doctors and pharmaceutical companies (Pfizer, Novartis) take some cuts in revenues, hospitals share expensive diagnostic equipment, bring it all down a notch. I wish I had the answers.

Well, I admire you and your stand, Dan. I admire the fact that Sarah is the mayor of Sebastopol and working to make a difference.

Dan Gurney said...

Bonnie, Thank you. Well. Not everyone is silent; you left a comment, and I thank you for doing so. I would imagine folks are reluctant to comment on controversial issues because the internet can bring out the not-so-nice in people. And I agree for the most part. In this case, though, I decided to get my opinions off my chest because I feel providing medical care to everyone in a fair manner is a moral issue.

Dan Gurney said...

Thank you, Sarah Lulu. As sad as I feel about the millions of Americans who live without seeing a doctor, I can feel happy that in other countries (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and Demark) I have friends who at least have access to care.

Dan Gurney said...

Hi, Margaret— Thanks for chiming in. I don't have the answers either. Good questions are of greater value than sure knowledge, don't you think?

In any event, kudos to you and your husband for providing health care coverage to your employees.

Dan Gurney said...

Steven, thank you for your prayers! I believe in the power of prayer, and knowing you as I do, I would think your prayers would have some real impact on the world. Namaste.

Andromeda said...

You can write political comments anytime you like! At least when they're as passionate and thought-through as this one... ;)

spldbch said...

I absolutely agree with you -- well said!!!

Dan Gurney said...

Thank you , Spldbch. When I add vowels to all those consonants I get a message I don't think you mean, do you?